#WFH Diaries: George Conboy of Match Marketing Group
As confinement continues in most parts of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from George Conboy, head of strategy at Match Marketing Group.
Give us a one-line bio of yourself.
I began my career running psychological evaluations on murderers, and now I lead strategy for Match Marketing Group.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
In my Battery Park apartment with my wife Tatiana, my 9-year-old son Luke and my 14-year-old dachshund Tico.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
Varies between manically focused ("OK … do stuff … we are actually busy right now … cross things off the list … oh yeah, write the list … pay attention to the nice people on the screen … something about a time sheet") to completely distracted ("There's a police car driving around my neighborhood telling people over the PA system to stay home and if they leave, wear a mask, WTF").
Describe your socializing strategy.
I've been doing the same stuff as most everyone else: Zoom drinks, actual phone conversations, unintentionally joining my son's Houseparty parties. But I like humans and being around them, so this has been tough. Video is fine. But I miss people's body language, their gait, their scent. I miss wondering what they are thinking about when their eyes tell me they've clearly lost interest in what I am saying.
How are you dealing with childcare?
"Remote learning" pretty much sucks. I have a fourth grader who is a great kid and a cyclone of kinetic energy. We live in a small Manhattan apartment with virtually no physical outlets right now. My son's an athlete who should be in the midst of a Little League baseball season while playing in the Downtown Giants basketball league and also going to boxing classes every week. Instead, he punches me a lot.
What are you reading?
I'm reading a biography of John Adams by David McCullough and another of Yogi Berra by John Pessah. Adams was the first vice president, second president and not a slaveholder but (weirdly) against abolition. Yogi fought on D-Day and won 10 rings with the Yankees. I'm calling it Yogi by a nose.
What are you watching?
Definitely nothing about Michael Jordan or the Bulls. Finally watched Escape at Dannemora, loved it. Ozark's third season was great. Couldn't get past the second episode of Tiger King (maybe it should have been called A Comprehensive Review of Life Choices No One Should Ever Make).
What are you listening to?
Miles Davis, Beethoven and the Beastie Boys.
How are you staying fit?
I'm athletic, always have been. My current workout consists of carrying voluminous bags of groceries, cursing and wondering why we can't just eat mustard sandwiches every day.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Perpetually adjusting the fit of my homemade face mask.
Any tips for getting necessities?
Thank the people in the stores. Seriously, just say thank you.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Not punching the guy on line behind me at the TriBeCa Whole Foods who kept loudly (and proudly) saying, "If the president doesn't wear a mask, why should I?"
Best work email you got since all this started.
Best? Hard to say. Most reliable? "Please submit your timesheet."
An aha! moment since all this started.
I'm not sure Pringles are actually made of potatoes, and I don't care.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
Psychological research has demonstrated that the least effective behavioral change strategies hinge on negative emotions like fear and loss. So, it will be interesting to see if behavioral change post-Covid manifests for the long term. Surely new preferences and habits will solidify—most evidently in an even more digitally dependent world. However, I suspect people will also react by craving analog experiences, whether it's shopping, attending live events or just feeling the freedom to take a walk outside … this time without the mask.